Activities & Resources
Natural History Museum454in Los Angeles, CA 90007
about Natural History Museum:
Two world-famous habitat halls offer dioramas of African and North American mammals in their natural environments. Some kids wait for minutes and minutes, expecting to see the animals move, and have to be gently told that the animals are...stuffed!
The Museum is also home to Megamouth, the world's rarest shark - a 14.5 foot long male that was the first to be placed on public view. Only five of the elusive sharks have been found since the first one was discovered in 1976.
Dinosaurs, the perennial natural history museum favorite, are well represented here. Dinosaur exhibits include a cast of the complete skeleton of a Mamenchisaurus, the largest-necked dinosaur ever discovered, one of the few and finest Tyrannosaurus rex skulls on view anywhere, and dramatic models of an Allosaurs and Carnotaurus by sculptor/paleontologist Stephen Czerkas.
The Times Mirror Hall of Native American Cultures showcases more than 800 pieces from the Museum's permanent collections in 16 different interpretive areas. Highlights include Navajo textiles from the William Randolph Hearst Collection, California and Great basin baskets, Southwest pottery and jewelry, Plains beadwork, and replicas of a two-story Pueblo cliff dwelling and a collector's California Craftsman house.
Animated birds, tree walk-through habitats, and 27 separate learning stations are featured in the popular Schreiber Hall of Birds.
A unique exhibit, "Chaparral: A Story of Life from Fire," demonstrates fire's importance in the life cycle of chaparral through a multi-media presentation that surrounds the visitor with the sights, sounds, and even the smells of a chaparral ecosystem.
The Marine Hall features intricate dioramas of sea life in California waters, from the inter-tidal to the deep sea. Identifications of many of the animals and plants seen by beachcombers and scuba divers are provided.
More than 2,000 gem and mineral specimens are on view in the Gem and Mineral Hall. The hall features one of the largest gold exhibits in the world, including over 300 pounds of natural gold, along with gold mining artifacts and other memorabilia. The walk-through Hixon Gem Vault houses such spectacular treasures as exquisite star rubies, emeralds and sapphires.
In the Ralph M. Parsons Discovery Center, children of all ages take fossil rubbings from a realistic-looking rock wall; look at water drops under a microscope; check out "discovery boxes" full of educational activities; observe live animals such as snakes, fish, and lizards; or get a closer look at a stuffed polar bear or a whale skeleton.
Medflies, rhinoceros beetles, tarantulas and scorpions are among the residents of the Museum's Ralph M. Parsons Insect Zoo. A giant ant farm and interactive displays are also featured.
The Museum cafe, on the lower level, features a good variety of hot and cold food, salads, sandwiches, and drinks. High chairs and boosters are available; eat indoors or outdoors.
The museum also serves as host to the Adventures in Nature summer camp, for kids ages three to 13.
Note: Admission is free on the first Tuesday of each month.